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AB Positives

In today's cover story, USA Today explores the ideas brought forth in Thomas J. DeLong and Vineeta Vijayaraghavan's June article in Harvard Business Review titled Let's Hear It for B Players.

The article, in a nutshell, categorizes workers into two categories: A players and B players. The A's are "volatile stars who may score the biggest revenues and clients, but who're also the most likely to commit missteps," while the B's "prize stability in their work and home lives. They seldom strive for advancement or attention, caring more about their companies' well-being."

While there's certainly gains for an organization to paying attention to the care and feeding of the B players, and that these B players do have importance in keeping the stability of an organization through the sheer fact that they're not going anywhere, it seems that a little nurturing might help them be more than just a B player in work and life. Apathy and a lack of any sort of self-improvement goals isn't doing any good for the employee or the organization.

While obviously not everyone has the ability or even the desire to be an A player, there's got to be a middle ground where those who aren't always bucking for more continue to learn the best of the skills of the A players while keeping the desired work / life balance intact.

Maybe these people could be grouped like the blood type, AB positives.

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  • Kevin O'Donovan


    You have no clue how close I came to putting that in the original post.

    Nice work!

  • Jerry Clegg

    I heard someone say once that there are two (2) kinds of people in this world...those who categorize people...and those who don't.

  • Ike Eslao

    What about the misfits and the minorities? Eric Hoffer in his book "The True Believer", argued in a michiavellian sense that the "discarded and the rejected are most often the raw materials of a nation's future" - because only they can "cross oceans to build a new world".

  • Lain Burgos-Lovece

    Well intentioned article, some truths worth reminding people of, but inherently dangerous. It is a bad idea, 9 times out of 10, to categorise people. Labelling people even with the best intentions deprives them of their humanity at some point along the line. The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

    There is a need in running a business, to group people into what effectively are categories, whatever other names you pick for them. But these distinctions must be understood as roles people play, roles people choose, at certain points in time or place.

    We must preserve the fact that no-one can get into anyone else's head. You know what I choose to tell you, you can only observe the behaviour I choose to display, you can't begin to categorise me.

  • Scott Palmer

    Sounds like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The Alphas make the business decisions and the Betas run the infrastructure. Let's not even talk about the Gammas.